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Old January 2nd 04, 11:52 AM
jonbeckett_nospam_73
 
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Default Got Excalibur Chess Station for Christmas

Hi all,

Among the various things I got from my wife and family (including a
digereedoo!?) was an "Excalibur Chess Station" chess computer. I thought
I would drop a few lines with what I think of it so far. It's worth
pointing out that I am pretty much a beginner when it comes to playing
chess.

What do you get?

You get two bits of kit for your money - a handheld LCD chess computer
(a bit smaller than a palm organiser), and a pressure sensitive chess
board with a docking cradle for the computer - meaning you can play
chess just against the handheld bit, or use the pressure sensitive board
for your moves.

Is it easy to use?

Operating the computer was a bit mystifying at first, but after messing
around with it for a few minutes (without looking at the instructions,
naturally...) I got a game underway.

The "pressure sensitive" board is quite stiff, which makes it a bit of a
chore using the edge of the pieces to make sure a move's "from" and
"to" squares register, but the computer display makes it easy to see
what it is expecting you to do next. There is also the option of not
having to register the computer's move on the board - it just tells you
where to move it's piece, and presumes you will have done it and is
waiting for your move immediately.

How does it play?

I'm back at work today so don't have much chance to sit and play with
it, but over the holidays I played 3 games with it as white (on levels
one, two and three), and it seems to be working it's way towards having
a decent game. The book says that the first 4 levels are "beginner"
levels - which makes sense according to what I saw.

Level 1 saw it hanging pieces all over the place, and level 3 saw it
playing passively without much thought for the consequences of it's
actions. I would imagine that as the levels increase, it will stop
making deliberate tactical mistakes and start launching attacks... so
far it has been totally passive.

Anyway - back to work I suppose!

If anybody else has experience of the "Excalibur Chess Station" give me
a shout!

Jonathan
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Old January 3rd 04, 08:27 PM
Chris Kantack
 
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Default Got Excalibur Chess Station for Christmas

Thanks Jonathon for your interesting review. My only dissappointment with
Chess Station is that, as you mention, the board is not very sensitive to
piece move registration. My first board was totally unusable so Excalibur
sent me a 2nd board which was still stiff but much better.

My Chess Station review can be found at:

http://home.earthlink.net/~kantack/l...essstation.htm


My LCD Chess home page:

http://home.earthlink.net/~kantack/lcdchess/home.htm

--
Chris Kantack
http://home.earthlink.net/~kantack/lcdchess/home.htm
(remove the "nospampls" from my email address if replying by email)
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